When I started this blog some 18 months ago, I designed the sidebar on the right to be a collection of my recommendations for current movies, music, television shows, and books. I hope that in the time I’ve been doing it (and I tried to regularly update it with new stuff I’d discovered), I’ve led some people to encounter truth and beauty.
But all of that is now gone. I totally re-did the sidebar today. In place of “The Best of Now” is “Fellow Searchers”–a collection of some quotes, thoughts, and glimpses of the people who have shaped me spiritually, artistically, intellectually.
The reason I got rid of the media recommendations is basically because I’m sick of defining myself chiefly through consumerist language. It’s an easy trap to fall into these days. On facebook and any social networking site with a profile page, how do we define ourselves? We identify ourselves chiefly as consumers, through a listing of our favorite movies, bands, books, etc. But isn’t there more to us than that?
So I got rid of my facebook “media interests” stuff on the info tab too. It doesn’t change anything about who I am. Perhaps now it looks like I’m totally uninterested in movies and music or perhaps just too ashamed in my tastes to want to broadcast it. I welcome that. If people feel like they don’t know me as well now that I have no media favorites to flesh out my identity, then they never knew me in the first place. I’d rather know people–and be known–in ways that go deeper than media tastes. I refuse to be reduced (and I challenge others to refuse this as well) to the products I consume, the brands and bands I collect.
Additionally, I’m sort of tired of the whole charade of keeping up with the insanely fast-moving train of culture. It’s exhausting. There are more important things to do and say than to seek out the hot new bands and trumpet them to the blogosphere. There are more lasting things to consider, to probe, to discuss. I’ll continue to talk about media in all forms, and my posts will reflect this as they always have. But as part of a larger goal of mine in 2009 to become slightly less mediated, I’m going to stop offering a rotating list of pop culture flavor-of-the-week recommendations. I’d much rather promote things and ideas with more enduring shelf life.